LETTER: No on Amendment 66
As an advocate for economic development I’ve learned that an educated workforce is a vital community element to any new or growing business. Likewise, a strong and productive school system is a must have for job producing businesses … both for their employees and owners. So the necessity of both is, in my mind, a foundational building block of any healthy, growing community.
This said, the way in which a state cultivates that system, and pays for it, can make or break the very economic backbone it rests on. We must remember that the majority of those “rich taxpayers” that are most highly targeted by this two-tier tax system are actually small Sub-S businesses. In a Sub-S tax filing, the income from the business actually flows through straight to the owners. And in an economic recession as difficult as this one, those businesses should not be asked to carry an additional load, much less one that is mandated by a constitutional amendment.
Equally, many people do not understand the ramifications of amending our state constitution. We need to understand that this is akin to amending our own United States Constitution. It’s serious business with very long-term ramifications.
Colorado’s Constitution has already been amended twice to provide for educational funding; the Gallagher amendment of 1982 and Amendment 23 passed in 2000. While the debate about the benefits and determinants of these amendments goes on, there’s little disagreement that they have put the taxpayers in a legislative box that frequently limits state and local governments from making the best decisions with the funds available.
Notwithstanding the real and present needs in our school systems, altering the state’s constitution to mandate yet another school spending amendment will likely cause more of the same common sense-deifying conflicts that the first two have caused.
While it always feels good and correct to ante-up on behalf of the children and education, we must find a better way to deal with our problems than further tangling the already impossibly tangled ball of yarn we have now. Amendment 66 is not our answer.
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